Porcelain gallbladder is a calcification of the gallbladder believed to be brought on by excessive gallstones, although the exact cause is not clear. As with gallstone disease in general, this condition occurs predominantly in overweight female patients of middle age. It is a morphological variant of chronic cholecystitis. Inflammatory scarring of the wall, combined with dystrophic calcification within the wall transforms the gallbladder into a porcelain-like vessel. Removal of the gallbladder is the recommended treatment.
Association with cancer Porcelain gallbladder is associated with gallbladder cancer, but the precise nature of the association is uncertain. Two review articles examined the association between cancer of the gallbladder and calcified gallbladder. One study reported an incidence of gallbladder cancer of about 1% in patients with calcified gallbladder.
Another study found that of 69 calcified gallbladders, 3 of them contained cancer. A recent review of 340 patients showed an overall rate of gallbladder malignancy in patients with gallbladder wall calcification of 6%. Symptoms Symptoms can include abdominal pain, jaundice, and vomiting. First symptom to appear is jaundice followed by right upper quadrant pain.
Diagnosis Abdominal radiography, abdominal ultrasound or CT scan. Treatment Due to the increased risk for gallbladder cancer, the recommended treatment is cholecystectomy which usually includes pre-operative or intra-operative imaging of the biliary tree. Cholecystectomy may be performed via an open incision or via laparoscopic methods, but gallbladder anatomy and consistency may complicate the operation. References External links eMedicine.com – Porcelain Gallbladder by Ali Nawaz Khan and Margaret Aird.
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